June 11, 2015 – In his nearly 90 years, Long Beach golfing legend Len Kennett has been rightly honored in a myriad of ways.
On Thursday afternoon at his beloved Lakewood Country Club, the Long Beach Golf and Century Club Hall of Famer got a special recognition – the new walk bridge on hole No. 3 was named in his honor.
“It’s a really nice thing, and I’m fortunate to have it,” said Kennett from alongside the new bridge, joined by his wife, Marie.
The ribbon-cutting and dedication ceremony was a star-studded affair, with L.A. County Supervisor Don Knabe speaking prior to the unveiling.
“I started the Knabe Cup 19 years ago because Len said we should start it,” Knabe said, referencing his very popular youth tournament. “My mission is to continue his dedication to amateur golf.”
That dedication spans six decades for Kennett, who will host his 60th annual Len Kennett Junior Championship at the Lakewood CC course on June 30.
“What Len has done for women’s golf and junior golf is incredible,” said Knabe.
Other big names on hand included former PGA president Tom Addis and Long Beach superintendent of golf operations Bob Livingstone.
It’s fitting that the walk bridge is at Lakewood CC, since Kennett was so instrumental in its revival. In 1981, after extensive fundraising efforts, it was Kennett who served as the master of ceremonies at the re-opening of the clubhouse there, and continued to improve and expand the facilities.
“The sprinklers didn’t work and there were holes in the roof,” Kennett said. “But with pride and passion, we got it going again.”
It’s obvious that Kennett’s passion hasn’t waned. He personally asked many of the several dozen in attendance at the event to make sure they came out to the 60th Kennett Junior Championship in two weeks, before driving Marie back to the reception at the clubhouse.
The walk bridge has a timeless look, with Kennett’s name, and his signature caricature on it.
“This is tradition,” said Knabe, giving it the once-over. “This is just classic.”